12-foot bird lived alongside early human relatives, fossils reveal
The flightless behemoth was three times the size of a modern ostrich and may have been a food source for our early European cousins.
Almost two million years ago, giant hyenas, saber-toothed cats, and camels roamed across the European continent, perhaps sometimes clashing with a few of our early human relatives. Now, in a surprise to paleontologists, it seems these Pleistocene mammals and our hominin cousins also shared their domain with an enormous bird that was almost 12 feet tall.
The discovery, described today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, represents the first giant flightless bird known to have lived in the Northern Hemisphere. The extinct animal, dubbed Pachystruthio dmanisensis, weighed in at a whopping 990 pounds—almost three times as much as its closest living relative, the ostrich.
“We think of [giant birds] in Madagascar, New Zealand, and Australia, but this is very